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Vietnam considers legalising same-sex marriages

in VIET NAM, 30/07/2012

Vietnam seems an unlikely champion of gay-rights issues. It is routinely lambasted by the international community over its dismal human rights record, often locking up political dissidents who call for democracy or religious freedom. Up until just a few years ago, homosexuality was labelled as a "social evil" alongside drug addiction and prostitution.

But over the past five years, that has slowly started to change. Vietnam's state-run media, unable to write about politically sensitive topics or openly criticise the one-party government, have embraced the chance to explore gay issues. They have run lengthy newspaper stories and television broadcasts, including one live special that won a top award.

Video of Vietnam's first publicised gay wedding went viral online in 2010, and a few other ceremonies followed, capturing widespread public attention. The Justice Ministry now says a legal framework is necessary because the courts do not know how to handle disputes between same-sex couples living together. The new law could provide rights such as owning property, inheriting and adopting children.

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